Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Cold Sore Vs Herpes

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Dear Helen,

What is the difference between a cold sore and herpes. On the mouth they kinda look the same, don’t they? – Anderson.

Dear Anderson,

Cold sores and herpes look the same because they are from within the same family of viruses. Cold sores are most commonly associated with HSV1 or Herpes Simplex Virus 1. Genital herpes is most commonly associated with HSV2 or Herpes Simplex Virus 2.

There are at least 130 forms of herpes virus that affect humans, birds and animals, including sea turtles.

Eight strains, however, are associated with humans – the most commonly known are HSV1 and HSV2.

Human Herpes Virus 1 – Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV1) – is commonly associated with cold sores but can appear in other areas. Spread by close physical contact such as oral or sexually transmitted – it lies dormant between outbreaks, in the neurons (nervous system) where it stays, for life.

Human Herpes Virus 2 – Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV2) – commonly associated with genital herpes but can appear in other areas. Spread by close physical contact such as oral or sexually transmitted, it lies dormant between outbreaks, in the neurons (nervous system) where it stays, for life.

… other strains include:

Human Herpes Virus 3 – Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) – the cause of Chickenpox and Shingles. Spread by the respiratory system (very common amongst children) and close physical contact such as oral or sexually transmitted – it lies dormant between outbreaks, in the neurones (nervous system) where it stays, for life.

Human Herpes Virus 4 – Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) (Lymphocryptovirus) – the cause of several extremely serious medical conditions that affect the immune system. Spread by close contact, transfusions, tissue transplant, and congenitally.

Human Herpes Virus 5 – Cytomegalovirus (CMV) – the underlying cause of Glandular Fever also commonly called ‘the kissing disease’ by young people or infectious mononucleosis-like syndrome. Spread by saliva, urine, blood, breast milk.

Human Herpes Virus 6a and 6b and Human Herpes Virus 7 – Roseolovirus the underlying cause of several seriously debilitating medical conditions.

Human Herpes Virus 8 – first described back in 1872 by a Hungarian physician and dermatologist, Moritz Kaposi – Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) associated herpes virus (KSH) which is a type of Rhadinovirus – KS is a type of cancer which gained public recognition in the 1980s, at the heights of the AIDS crisis.

I hope this helps to answer your question. – Helen

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